Each May, Alberta University of the Arts’ (AUArts) Grad Show exhibition showcases the university’s graduating art, craft and design students. The annual exhibition, organized by Illingworth Kerr Gallery (IKG), the university’s professional on-campus gallery, is a highlight of the year and a milestone in the careers of graduates. This year’s exhibition, Grad Show 2020 / Shaping the future, is now online and available to a wider audience in an exciting new format. While current social distancing measures meant the traditional exhibition format was not possible, instead of cancelling Grad Show, the university quickly partnered with a local AUArts alumni-founded digital agency to successfully innovate and transform the exhibition into an online experience.
The annual Graduating Students Exhibition traditionally opens directly after the May convocation ceremony and features approximately 200 artworks by graduating students. In light of the ongoing global pandemic and restrictions on large gatherings, AUArts and the IKG partnered with Evans Hunt, a Calgary-based digital communications agency (founded by AUArts alumni), to present Grad Show 2020 on a purpose-built digital platform. The Grad Show 2020 website showcases the hard work of graduating students, while minimizing barriers for those who otherwise may be unable to participate and opening accessibility to a new audience.
Alberta University of the Arts is a one-of-a-kind post-secondary institution in Alberta. The university is the only dedicated art, craft and design university on the prairies, and one of only four in Canada. It provides a specialized studio-based education, offering Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in Ceramics, Drawing, Fibre, Glass, Jewellery and Metals, Media Arts, Painting, Print Media and Sculpture; Bachelor of Design degrees in Photography and Visual Communication Design; and Master of Fine Arts degrees in Craft Media. A wide selection of undergraduate work in the various areas of study is represented in Grad Show 2020 / Shaping the future.
By presenting Grad Show 2020 online, new opportunities have been made possible. Every graduate now has the option to exhibit multiple artworks alongside their chosen Grad Show piece, and the innovative virtual exhibition also permits graduates to include links to their own personal websites and social media. The exhibition will remain online for one year, another valuable benefit for graduates concentrating on developing their creative careers, seeking further education and grants.
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